When you’re in the thick of things, it’s truly hard to conceive the passing of time — so that it feels like it’s more on your side. When waiting for your turn in the TSA line at the airport, you’re focused on getting to your flight and finding your seat on the plane; then you’re fixated on arriving at your destination.
Awaiting lab results and then the diagnosis that follows into the next steps just seems to leave us on a never ending trail of looking for a place of rest — when you can say you’ve arrived at that destination of exhalation.
Parenting can often seem that way from the moment you anticipate that tiny face looking back at you. Whether in post adoption or post partum, the feeling is mutual. The anxiety is no less stressful. Then the journey takes on different turns, with unexpected dips, speed bumps, occasional potholes, detours and delays. For the mom whose faith is her lifeline, she knows where she can turn to, Who she can lean into and how she can express all the emotions that accompany that.
The LORD is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth. Psalm 145:18 NASB 1995
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 ESV
Somehow, we’re always looking for when things will seemingly be ‘easier’ for us to live through. However, if we’re not careful, it is in these moments that we will miss the greatest of times and our treasury of memories will be less full.
Standing at the kitchen sink, I catch a memory out of the corner of my eye. This memory looks just like my little girl once did as she sat on the floor playing with her Polly Pockets while patiently waiting for me to join her. As I glance out the window sometimes, I can almost see my daughter and son playing in their green turtle sandbox like they did decades ago.
These memories are a blessing. They’re reminders of all the love that once filled this house: love that sounded a lot like laughter and tiny voices, love that now sounds like an echo beneath the silence of our empty nest. Memories allow us to hold onto those precious days that seemed so long at the time but that we now know were not quite long enough. “For everything there is a season…” Ecclesiastes 3:1a ESV is a perfect reminder to empty nesters to relax into the comfort offered to us from God. ~ Sandy Brannan
As these young image bearers begin to think independently, expressing themselves in their unique ways, and developing their own thoughts for their future lives and those with whom they will share it, we find it mind-boggling that we have come this far in so short a time span.
Looking into that rearview mirror, we see a trail of experiences that even though were challenging, hair-raising, jaw-dropping, pray-through-the-night, Bible-gripping, sleepless-night days, weeks, months, years … we survived. Because we are here to tell you that we did.
To say, “this too shall pass,” may sound trite to you if you’re not in this season of booking hair appointments for the sake of covering the gray, or opening up a drawer full of creams that flaunt the promise of lifting and de-puffing your eyes. For those of us now fanning our way through sermons, walking through grocery aisles to find the frozen foods so that we can get some temporary ‘relief,‘ stepping into those beloved yoga pants (of which we have a variety) because they are our go-to daily wear … we high-five one another in a sisterhood of camaraderie to say that Jesus truly never left us or abandoned us. You can definitely count on Him — for everything.
These days I am trying to loosen my grip on the so-called urgency of every notification on my phone. I’m realizing I don’t need to be available to provide immediate responses to every message. It is bringing freedom into my life. As moms of adult children, I believe it is important to allow them the same freedom. We pray for them, and trust that God is with them. Why then should we fear that something dreadful has happened if they don’t return a text or email in minutes? Their lives are full of purpose, work and relationships, and that is to be celebrated with a grateful heart. Let us then be secure in their love and in the One who has a grip on them, letting them respond to our communication when they are able. This will bring peace to our hearts and freedom to our children, allowing our relationships to grow stronger and deeper. ~ Grace Gardiner
Finding your people in this season is a must-do, Girlfriend. You cannot do life alone in any lane. Whether you are a self-proclaimed advocate of strong mamahood or a DIY warrior that can unashamedly swing a sledgehammer single-handedly. We repeat: find a sister in your sphere, your local church, your neighborhood, your small group, your Bible study — and put her number on speed-dial. You will need her.
Memorizing Scripture, if it has not been your practice, will be one of the best intentional habits to get you through your solo nights and flights with Jesus and will equip you to speak life into your sister from another mother. I know you know what all that means because you’re nodding your head as you read this.
As these hormones (which I have since renamed: her-moans) fluctuate more readily than NASDAQ, your adult children will time their departure from your nest all in the same heartbeat. Which by the way, yours will take on a new rhythm. A rhythm that only GOD can maintain and steady, so allow Him to do that for you one day at a time.
You may feel thrusted onto an expressway of feeling more ‘no way’ — that is to say, it will be your natural inclination to declare this as your battlecry in response to their exodus from your home. And you are not alone in your feelings, Sweet Friend. Many of us were given the foretaste of living through the one (or two or three) that decided to go far away for college. *sigh!* As if that didn’t rip our hearts out. And many have come to live now the reality of that departure being the permanent decision. Hearing the (dreaded) words, “I’m going to stay out here, mom.” Maybe you’re the encourager and cheered them on to so great independence. I commend you, Sister.
I was not of that genotype. Nope. I was the mom that cried all the way home from the airport. I was the mom who couldn’t bare to open the unoccupied bedroom for weeks thereafter.
And I’m still the mom who cries a river every flight home after visits that seem all too short.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV
I had to trust GOD for all that He had given me to deposit into these ones that He had entrusted me to be their mom — would kick in and be activated.
And I stand by that. I have shared that with each one of them, with the purpose of giving them a mental checklist and a basis for why I made certain decisions at specific times in their lives. It is my prayer that they will do something similar as they seek to establish themselves and their lives with other people.
Jesus kept a light touch on things when He walked this earth. His flexibility and the adaptability in His life is something that I marvel over. He never rushed through life. He always paused for those that stepped into His day.
Do an inventory of the now parenting skill set that you have in your tool-belt. It’s loaded with things that you may not realize you have that might be useful in mentoring a mom coming up behind you. This may be a great season for you to consider reaching out to one that you see at church or in your neighborhood that is struggling in her role as a mom.
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 1 Corinthians 1:4 NLT
As we seek to continue to do life through the changes that continue to befall us, let us keep at the frontal part of our brain that life is on a constant spectrum of change. Releasing our grip is not to wave a forever goodbye. It is allowing GOD to become all the more real for the ones whom we had the privilege to do our best with the time we were given. And to trust Him for how that will unfold
Avoid sulking into Netflix, Sister. Get out there in the land of the living — do life in a community of Jesus loving, Jesus following, Jesus knowing women who will speak life into you when you can’t seem to figure out which pair of yoga pants to wear today. And yes, ask her to recommend a great DIY root concealer to get you to your next hair appointment.
I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~
LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary
*Thank you to Sandy Brannan and Grace Gardiner for your contributions to this publication of Titus-two.com and for the heartwarming godly counsel that you both share with the women in your sphere. Keep doing what y’all are doing, we love you for it!